FAQ

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Welcome to the OSx86 Project! This FAQ provides answers to common questions. Translations in other languages can be found in the Translations section.

NOTE: We need contributors to help finish up the translations! Incomplete answer translations can be found at this older version of the FAQ. We don't have any translated questions yet. Please do what you can!

Contents

General

What is The OSx86 Project?

It is a site dedicated to discussing the issues associated with running OS X on x86 hardware.

What does this all mean?

You can find a quick cheat sheet containing definitions for many of the basic terms found on this site in our Dictionary of OSx86 Terms.

Don't I need a Mac for OS X?

Well, not if you mean a PowerPC Mac. Apple recently announced their switch from IBM/Freescale PowerPC CPUs to Intel x86 beginning in mid-2006. As the only effective difference between PC and Mac has remained the different CPU, future Macs will essentially be PCs.

Will Apple sell OS X for PCs?

No. Apple has repeatedly stated that OS X for Intel will only run on Apple hardware.
Of course Apple may change its mind at any time. Remember Steve Jobs was telling us there would not be a video iPod anytime soon.
There could be many good reasons for Apple to let OSx86 spread on non proprietary computers. It could boost Apple's Hardware sales via a halo effect similar to the iPod one or simply allow to up their OS market share.
We'll see.
Of course, this is a big debate in the whole Mac community because the release of Mac OS X for normal PCs may lead to many problems. Apple's primary reason for selling their computers is the operating system. If their operating system would be massively pirated, they wouldn't make anymore profit. And lastly, there is also a problem of drivers. Apple would need to incorporate massive amounts of drivers which would lower the priority for developing better and newer features.

So Macs will be just like PCs, but OS X will only run on Macs?

Exactly. Apple makes money by selling hardware, so they have to make sure they continue selling Macs.

How does this relate to PearPC?

PearPC is an emulator that runs the PowerPC version of Mac OS X on a PC. It is very compatible, but extremely slow. As Apple is now shifting towards x86 CPUs, there will be no need any more to emulate the CPU in order to run it on the PC, resulting in a much faster solution.

Developer Kit

I heard about a DMG/ISO of OS X for Intel on Bittorrent - what is this?

This is a version of OS X Intel aimed for developers. It runs only on special development machines that can only be leased from Apple. Unless you own a Dev Kit, this file is illegal.

What if I have this Developer Kit Install DVD? Does it run on my PC?

No, the original Developer Kit Install DVD or any identical copies will only run on the machines included with the Apple Dev Kit.

The Developer Intel Mac looks like an ordinary PC - is it?

Basically yes. It has a standard Pentium 4 CPU and an Intel mainboard. Additionally, it includes a TPM module by Infineon. It has a PC BIOS (with BIOS setup and everything) and uses a PC partition table.
This does not mean though that the actual Intel Mac coming out this year will be like this. Apple says that they will not have OpenFirmware or Mac partitioning, but they have not confirmed whether they will have PC BIOS and PC partitioning either.

Does the Developer Kit support x86_64/AMD64/EM64T?

The hardware does but OS X for Intel is compiled for 32 bit operation only. The first Intel Macs are suspected to be 32 bit. The Intel Developer Kit version of OS X is also compiled with SSE3 support.

So the Developer Kit version of OS X intel can only run on SSE3 CPUs?

Yes. It requires a Pentium 4 or an Athlon 64 (Venice Core or San Diego) if you want Rosetta to work without being patched. It is possible to run with SSE2 without rosetta, but there is no support for PPC code. The kernel can be patched to allow Rosetta to work on SSE2 CPUs by translating SSE3 instructions on the fly. The release version of OS X for Intel might not need SSE3, but the original (unmodified) Dev Kit Install DVD requires SSE3 to function.

What kind of hardware would be equivalent to the Dev Kit Hardware?

  • CPU: must support SSE3
  • Chipset: Intel 915 chipset (others may work if they support ich4 or ich5)
  • GPU
    • Intel Graphics Media Accelerator 900
  • Motherboard
  • How do I check if my CPU supports SSE2 or SSE3?

    Use cpu-z (http://www.cpuid.org/cpuz.php), CrystalCPUID (http://crystalmark.info/?lang=en), wcpuid, or 'cat /proc/cpuinfo'

    Where is otool on the Dev Kit Install DVD?

    Use pax to extract it from Archive.bom. (Brickster)
    /System/Installation1/Packages/Xcode Tools, in an Archive.pax.gz inside DeveloperTools.pkg (Pip)
    Otherwise, it may be accessible from Xcode.

    Where are kernel extensions (kexts)?

    /System/Library/Extensions
    On the Dev Kit install DVD also see: /System/Library/Extensions.mkext

    How do I convert a .DMG to a .ISO/.IMG?

    *Install UltraISO, goto Tools|Convert... Then select your .dmg, and leave the output as a .ISO
    *Then to turn it into a .IMG, put the .ISO into a emulator like Alcohol 120% or Nero Image Drive
    *Then install Transmac, goto Tools|Disk/CD Edit|Save Image of Disk/CD and select the souce Drive, and the Dest .IMG

    Development

    Why doesn't the Developer Kit Install DVD work on a PC?

    The OS X installation DVD works only with the proper TPM authentication.

    What part of the OS relies on the TPM module?

    Mac OS X for Intel ships with Rosetta, the PowerPC G3 user mode emulation engine by Transitive. It ensures that you can run applications and libraries on an Intel Mac that are compiled for PowerPC. Rosetta communicates with AppleTPMACPI.kext, a kernel extension that talks to the TPM module. If the module is missing, Rosetta will not run.

    But do I need Rosetta to run OS X?

    OS X itself should have run fine without Rosetta, but it seems that Apple deliberately left ATSServer (the daemon responsible for GUI fonts) compiled for PPC, so it relies on Rosetta. And as the GUI will not run without ATSServer, it depends on Rosetta and the TPM module as well.

    Isn't OS X or Darwin open source? Can't you easily fix it?

    Darwin (the underlying system) and XNU (the kernel) are open source, but neither the underlying code (OpenFirmware) or the overlaying system (Aqua) are. This makes it difficult at best to modify Darwin to your liking, especially if you're still intending to have the resulting code work with OpenFirmware and Aqua. Font rendering is a part of Aqua and it would not be possible to modify Darwin to prevent Aqua from accessing the TPM module without breaking Aqua.

    Where can I find hints on making Darwin do things like mount disks?

    Search at http://www.macosxhints.com/

    What is a good hex editor for this work?

    There are many good (and free) hex editors at http://sourceforge.net, otherwise WinHex, Hex Workshop and Hex Tool have been recommended.

    Does a livecd exist ?

    A live CD is a CD which allows you to boot up an OS off of the CD itself without having to install or access the computer's hard drive in any way. Most live CDs contain basic internet and word processing tools, and are especially useful at times when your hard drive does not work. At this time, the closest thing to a live CD for Mac OS X is the BootCD program available from http://www.charlessoft.com/. Judging by how OSs tend to work, and how large they are, it is not possible to create a live CD for Mac OS X that is completely compatible with a regular OS X installation, and the CD produced by BootCD is more useful for troubleshooting tasks than as an OS substitute. There is a similar unofficial Live CD builder for Windows XP, titled BartPE. It is mostly used for system recovery purposes and is again not designed to be a 'production' OS.

    What is the current status?

    Check out our Main Page for the latest news.

    How can I help?

    Join the forum and the IRC channel to help with development and/or contribute documentation.

    Legal

    Is it legal to download the Developer Kit Installation DVD?

    It is not technically legal to download it, as the only possible use of the developer kit DVD is to circumvent its copyright protections to enable its use on a non developer machine. However, if you own one of these developer machines, then obviously you have a license for the developer kit DVD and of course it is quite legal for you to download it in your case, for backup or archival purposes.

    Is this site illegal under the DMCA?

    According to Wikipedia, "The Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) is a controversial United States copyright law. The act criminalizes production and dissemination of technology that can circumvent measures taken to protect copyright, not merely infringement of copyright itself, and heightens the penalties for copyright infringement on the Internet."
    Our site is fully compliant with the DMCA. This site intends only to provide a forum for those interested in running OS X on Intel hardware. Anyone engaged in an active DMCA violation will be banned. For more information, review our Disclaimer here.
    If you are either a lawyer or an Apple representative and have any concerns, feel free to contact us regarding any changes you feel necessary.

    But aren't you trying to "circumvent measures taken to protect copyright?"

    Absolutely not. This site simply hosts information about the TPM. We do not sanction the use of this information for anything other than educational purposes. Our intent is to learn more about the TPM - not "crack" it.

    Translations

    Note: Many of these translations are incomplete. All help on these pages is appreciated.

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